HERMENEUTICS OF SUICIDE IN ETHICS OF THE IGBO TRADITIONAL PHILOSOPHY
Suicide is one of the ethical problems of Philosophy perturbing mankind. Philosophy, however, is complex and has many branches including ethics. Ethics as a branch of philosophy studies the morality of the human conduct in the society. Ethics, in this context, questions the morality of suicidal act which has been wide spreading in the world generally. Suicide however is one of the methods whereby man accomplishes his desire for death. This has provoked the questions such as, is it morally good for man to end his life? The quest to answer this has posed arguments in favour or against a suicide mongst philosophers especially in the Euro-Western Societies, where such act seems to be more prevalent due to their individualistic lifestyle. Though, it is not only in the Western societies that suicidal acts occur. People other societies of the world do commit suicide. This paper therefore, is interested on the Igbo people’s stand, pointing to suicidal behaviour. This provokes more questions such as, how do the Igbo people interpret suicide? Do they deem it ethically right for man to take his life deliberately? Applying the hermeneutical and evaluation methods of philosophical inquiry here, the writer submits that the Igbo interprets suicide as, “Mmadu ikpacha anya gbuo onwe ya (i.e deliberate killing of oneself)”. There is no much ado about killing of oneself in the traditional and contemporary Igbo philosophy respectively. Igbo people vehemently frown at such act and perceive it as abominable wicked and shamefully vile. Thus, such act attracts transcendental punishment to the culprit.